About Us

We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to learning for all as we recognize that all great minds don't think alike.

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Meet Our Team

Meet our professional staff of diagnosticians and instructors versed in a wide range of disciplines.

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Success Stories

Read stories and testimonials about learners of all ages who found academic and social success at the Stern Center.

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Course Calendar

Join our knowledgeable and experienced staff in learning research-proven strategies in the areas of literacy, social cognition, math, and more.

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Courses & Workshops

Browse our entire collection of Professional Learning offerings. Find a course for yourself or design a customized remedial program for your school/district.

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BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY®

Discover the program that teaches early care and education providers as well as parents how to foster early literacy skills in children ages five and under.

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Clara Behrman

Communication Services Intern
Clara Behrman, Communications Services Intern, is an undergraduate student in the College of Nursing and

Clara Behrman, Communications Services Intern, is an undergraduate student in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Honors College at the University of Vermont. She is studying Communication Sciences and Disorders, with a minor in Spanish. She is most interested in learning about language development, autism spectrum disorder, and traumatic brain injury, but her interests are constantly expanding as she gains insight and experience in the field. She would like to pursue a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology after graduating from UVM. 

When she is not studying, Clara is dancing with UVM’s Orchesis Dance Company, making art, or spending time with family and friends. As a lifelong Vermonter, she highly values being outdoors and learning in nature. She is so excited to help with Camp Compass and to join the team at the Stern Center for the summer! 

Meredith Bergeron, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist
Meredith Bergeron, M.S., CCC-SLP, provides speech/language therapy and Social Thinking® instruction for school-aged students and adults.

Meredith Bergeron, M.S., CCC-SLP, provides speech/language therapy and Social Thinking® instruction for school-aged students and adults. She works part-time at the Stern Center in her areas of expertise, which include articulation/phonological disorders, specific language impairment, supervision and mentoring, high functioning autism, oral and written language instruction and Social Thinking® instruction.

Meredith holds a full-time position as a school therapist in New Hampshire’s Mascoma Valley School District serving children with a wide variety of speech/language disorders and developmental needs, including autism spectrum disorder, apraxia, and developmental delay.  She is a trained Social Thinkingâ instructor and seasoned speech-language pathologist who is passionate about her work helping children and adults succeed in school and in life.

Meredith previously worked in school districts throughout New Hampshire as a contracted service provider and evaluator and as a Clinical Manager for other speech language pathologists and related service providers.  In addition, she has worked on a child development team affiliated with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center as the SLP on a team of pediatric evaluators.

Meredith earned a Master of Science degree from MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Maine, Orono. She was recognized by ASHA with an Award for Continuing Education for her dedication and commitment to lifelong learning and continued professional study. She has been trained in the following programs: Telian Learning Concepts Reading Program, Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking, Prompts for Restructuring Oral Motor Phonetic Targets (P.R.O.M.P.T.), Zones of Regulation, Basic Writing Skills. She also completed a multi-day training with Social Thinkingâ creator Michelle Garcia Winner. Meredith is certified by ASHA and is licensed to practice in both New Hampshire and Vermont. When she is not working with students, Meredith enjoys spending time with her husband and three young children exploring the Upper Valley of New Hampshire, where they reside.

Ashley Besaw, M.Ed.

Instructor, Social Cognition Coach
Ashley Besaw, M.Ed., Social Cognition coach and instructor, provides instruction and social cognition coaching to

Ashley Besaw, M.Ed., Social Cognition coach and instructor, provides instruction and social cognition coaching to individuals of all ages and abilities. Her areas of expertise include executive functioning, social cognition and helping individuals with learning disabilities reach their potential. In addition to supporting students at the Stern Center, Ashley is a Special Educator at Mount Mansfield Union High School.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Vermont, Ashley went on to earn a Master of Education degree from UVM. She carries two teaching endorsements in Vermont, including Special Educator for students in grade 7 through age 21, and Intensive Needs Special Educator for ages 3-21. In addition, Ashley is recognized by the Agency of Education as a Highly Qualified Teacher for primary instruction in the areas of English Language Arts and Science for grades K-12.  

Pamela Billings, M.A., CCC-SLP

Evaluator
Pamela Billings, M.A., CCC-SLP, Evaluator, provides comprehensive as well as speech and language evaluations in

Pamela Billings, M.A., CCC-SLP, Evaluator, provides comprehensive as well as speech and language evaluations in the areas of expressive and receptive language, social communication, written language, literacy and academic achievement. She specializes in analyzing the relationships between language, literacy and academic performance.

Prior to joining the Stern Center team, Pam worked at middle and high schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In addition to teaching and providing speech therapy, Pam created and instituted a customized classroom for high school students with language-based learning disabilities. In addition, she was a presenter for the Baystate Readers Program, which trained teachers in numerous Massachusetts schools to teach literacy and decoding using scientifically-based methods.

Pam received her undergraduate degree in Hearing and Speech Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. She went on to receive her Master of Arts degree from The Ohio State University, where she trained under Dr. Wayne Secord, a nationally recognized expert on assessment, language, literacy, communication and school-based delivery of intervention.

When she is not helping students and teachers, Pam enjoys spending time with her family and new puppy. She lives near Mount Mansfield, where she enjoys hiking, running, photography and her daughters’ music and sporting events.

Laura Bonazinga Bouyea, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Instructor
Laura Bonazinga Bouyea, M.S., CCC-SLP, provides speech, language, and socio-communicative assessment and instruction for students

Laura Bonazinga Bouyea, M.S., CCC-SLP, provides speech, language, and socio-communicative assessment and instruction for students of all ages. She specializes in language learning and best-practices in early intervention for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related social-thinking disorders as well as in assessing and providing intervention for social communication and social emotional learning. Laura develops workshops and provides training for educators, clinicians and parents on topics related to interventions supporting autism, social communication, social cognition and language learning. Additional areas of expertise include social cognition and theory of mind. Laura also partners with families in schools and in home-based environments to foster effective communication on behalf of children. Laura is also an adjunct lecturer in the graduate Communication Sciences Department at The University of Vermont.

Prior to joining the Stern Center, Laura worked in private practice serving children who present with autism spectrum disorder, apraxia, and language-based learning disabilities. In addition to providing home-based services, Laura partnered with the Howard Center’s Baird and Jean Garvin Schools as well as several Vermont school districts to meet the needs of a wide range of children on the autism spectrum.

Laura holds a Master of Science from the University of Vermont, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and art. Her interest in autism spectrum disorders began during her work as Graduate Research Coordinator for the Social Story™ and Peer Play Interventions at UVM. The focus of her master’s thesis was on the assessment of Theory of Mind, a project which culminated in the development of the standardized assessment tool, The Theory of Mind Inventory (TOMI) (www.theoryofmindinventory.com). Laura has coauthored journal articles on the TOMI as well as published a review of the DIR/Floortime™ Intervention in the Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders-2nd Edition (2017). Most recently, she provided consultation for the development of a pilot PBS Kids show, Mr. Chris & Friends. When she is not working with students, Laura enjoys birding, spinning, yoga, playing hockey and spending time with family.

Sandy Boyer, M.Ed.

Instructor
Sandra B. Boyer, M.Ed., Instructor, provides individualized literacy instruction to students of all ages. Clients

Sandra B. Boyer, M.Ed., Instructor, provides individualized literacy instruction to students of all ages. Clients benefit from her 20+ years of experience delivering evidence-based instruction customized to meet each student’s unique needs. Sandy has completed the Wilson Reading System, Level I, Multisensory Language Training Program.

In addition to teaching more than 500 students with learning differences at the Stern Center and at various schools in Vermont, she has worked with children in the Somali-Bantu refugee resettlement program. Sandy shares her extensive teaching knowledge with classroom teachers and Special Educators through consultations, coaching partnerships in schools and in-service workshops. She also designed and taught a summer graduate class, Assessment for Instruction, for prospective special educators. Because Sandy’s expertise in language development and literacy also extends to our youngest learners, she trained and mentored early childcare and preschool providers in the Stern Center’s Building Blocks for Literacy® program, which ensures that preschoolers are prepared for reading success by kindergarten.

Sandy holds a Master of Education degree from St. Michael’s College and has completed additional graduate-level coursework and trainings on topics related to assessment, phonological awareness, structured language and literacy, written expression, and comprehension. When she is not helping students and teachers achieve their potential, Sandy enjoys singing, hiking, biking, skiing, and spending time with family and friends.

Cecilia Bucca, MFA

Instructor
Cecilia Bucca, MFA., Instructor, provides individualized language arts instruction to students of all ages. Clients

Cecilia Bucca, MFA., Instructor, provides individualized language arts instruction to students of all ages. Clients benefit from her 30+ years of experience delivering evidence-based instruction customized to meet each student’s unique needs. Cecilia is certified in the Orton-Gillingham Approach, and worked with Diana Hanbury King at the Kildonan School in Amenia, New York, as well as with Dr. Laurel Fais at The Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Cecilia holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, where she focused on Interdisciplinary Art. Cecilia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art and Art Education from Frostburg University. She has completed extensive graduate-level coursework and trainings on topics related to language arts, art therapy and psychology. The recipient of the Skidmore Summer Six Fellowship for teachers at Skidmore College, Cecilia was a featured artist at the Vermont Book Awards in Montpelier. When she is not helping students achieve their potential, she enjoys book-making, collage, painting, drawing, hiking, Hatha yoga, singing and reading.

MacCall Buckley, M.Ed.

Professional Learning Provider, Instructor
MacCall Buckley, M.Ed., Instructor and Early Education Program Coordinator, provides individualized literacy instruction to students

MacCall Buckley, M.Ed., Instructor and Early Education Program Coordinator, provides individualized literacy instruction to students of all ages. Clients benefit from her four years of experience delivering evidence-based instruction customized to meet each student’s unique needs. In her role as Early Education Program Coordinator, MacCall brings Building Blocks for Literacy® trainings and related professional learning opportunities to the educators of our youngest learners. She also collaborates with professionals in the field of early learning to offer  Building Blocks for Literacy® to our online community.

MacCall holds a Master of Education degree from Cambridge College and has completed additional graduate-level coursework and trainings on topics related to literacy instruction. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Vermont. MacCall has her Vermont license in Early Childhood Education and is currently pursuing Orton-Gillingham Associate Level certification. When she is not helping students and teachers reach their potential, she enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking and skiing.

Brenda Buzzell, M.Ed.

St. Monica-St. Michael Catholic School Principal
Brenda Buzzell was the former Building Blocks Coordinator at the Stern Center. She has been

Brenda Buzzell was the former Building Blocks Coordinator at the Stern Center. She has been an educator for over 30 years working with children, early care and education providers, and parents. A former first grade teacher, she has over 21 years of classroom experience teaching children to read. She is a co-author of the online BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY® program.

Laurie Caswell-Burke, M. Ed.

Major Gifts Specialist
Laurie Caswell-Burke is a writer and teacher. <em>Skinny Dipping with Loons </em>is her first book.

Laurie Caswell-Burke is a writer and teacher. <em>Skinny Dipping with Loons </em>is her first book. She lives in Shelburne, VT with her husband and has two beautiful daughters.

Linda Comito, M.Ed.

Instructor

Candace Condry Bowles, M.S.

Instructor
Candace Condry Bowles, Instructor, has a Master of Science in Education from Nazareth College and a

Candace Condry Bowles, Instructor, has a Master of Science in Education from Nazareth College and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Rochester. She is highly experienced in special education and also has a math instruction background.

Paula Costello, M.Ed.

Instructor, Professional Learning Provider
Paula Costello, M.Ed., Instructor and Professional Learning Provider, provides workshops for teachers as well as

Paula Costello, M.Ed., Instructor and Professional Learning Provider, provides workshops for teachers as well as literacy instruction for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. She also partners with Vermont schools and serves as a mentor for classroom teachers. A reading specialist who has worked extensively with students and teachers for 30 years, Paula’s areas of expertise include early literacy learning, literacy development, intervention and assessment. 

Prior to joining the Stern Center in 2010, Paula was a reading specialist at Westford School for twenty years. She was also a Developmental Reading Assessment trainer for the Department of Education for eight years.

Paula has completed the Wilson Reading System, Level 1, Multisensory Language Training Program, and is a certified Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner. Paula is a certified presenter for the Wilson Fundations K-2 program. She also leads the Stern Center’s professional learning course T.I.M.E. for Teachers, delivering in-depth knowledge of the structure of the English language along with evidence-based best practices in reading and spelling instruction.

Paula holds a Master of Education degree in Reading and Language Arts from the University of Vermont, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology as well as a 5th Year Certificate in Education. When she is not helping students reach their potential or training teachers throughout Vermont, Paula enjoys biking, hiking, skiing and spending time with her grandchildren.

Nancy Daniels, M.Ed.

Instructor
Nancy provides math instruction and ACT/SAT preparation to students of all ages. Nancy taught grades

Nancy provides math instruction and ACT/SAT preparation to students of all ages. Nancy taught grades 5-8 for 23 years in public education. Her teaching experiences include teaching mathematics, science, and language arts at the middle level as well as mentoring teachers in mathematics at the elementary level. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Trinity College of Burlington, VT in 1990 and her Masters Degree in Middle Level Education from Trinity College in 1998.

Why Nancy became an instructor:

I decided to become an instructor at the Stern Center because I wanted to be able to work with students individually in areas that they needed assistance or enrichment – that’s where my heart is. I love working with students one-to-one because I get to mentor them and see growth over time.  I see working with students more as a partnership so that student feel like they are contributing to what they are learning!

What parents have to say:

“I really value the consistency and relationship Nancy has with my child. Nancy makes learning fun for her!” “What I like most about our experience with the Stern Center is how Nancy has integrated my daughter’s unique interests into her tutoring lessons.”

Julie Erdelyi, M.A., Autism Specialist

Program Manager for Communication Services & Professional Learning
 Julie provides consultation and instruction. She has a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the

 Julie provides consultation and instruction. She has a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Vermont and a Master’s degree in special education – developmental disabilities from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She has extensive experience as a Special Educator and Autism Specialist designing and implementing academic instruction, proactive behavior intervention plans, and social thinking instruction for elementary school students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has presented at local and national conferences and was published in the Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine.

Melissa Farrall, Ph.D., SAIF

Program Manager for Evaluations
Melissa Farrall, Ph.D., Program Manager for Evaluation, is the author of Reading Assessment: Linking Language,

Melissa Farrall, Ph.D., Program Manager for Evaluation, is the author of Reading Assessment: Linking Language, Literacy, and Cognition, and the co-author of All About Tests & Assessments published by Wrightslaw. Dr. Farrall presents nationally on topics related to assessment, learning disabilities, dyslexia, dysgraphia and intellectual functioning. She has performed nearly 1,000 diagnostic evaluations of children and adolescents.

After earning her doctorate from Brown University in the area of Slavic Linguistics, Dr. Farrall received her Master of Education from Rivier University, where she specialized in learning disabilities.

Dr. Farrall worked as a learning disability specialist in New Hampshire public schools for several years. In 1999 she became a certified Specialist in the Assessment of Intellectual Functioning, focusing on the link between reading and oral language.  She taught courses in the structure of language and assessment at Simmons College in Boston and at Rivier University in Nashua, NH. She has worked with the International Dyslexia Association at both the national and branch levels, and she serves as a reviewer for conference speakers. Prior to joining the Stern Center, Dr. Farrall worked as an educational consultant for St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, NH.

 

Barbara Greenwald, M.Ed., CAS

Instructor
Barbara Greenwald, M.Ed., CAS, Instructor, provides individualized instruction to students of all ages. Clients benefit

Barbara Greenwald, M.Ed., CAS, Instructor, provides individualized instruction to students of all ages. Clients benefit from her nearly 30 years of experience delivering evidence-based instruction customized to meet each student’s unique needs. Barbara’s areas of expertise relate to language and motor development in young children, instruction of children and adults with complex learning profiles, diagnostic assessment of children and adults, and behavior intervention.

In addition to teaching students with learning differences, Barbara has provided hundreds of learning evaluations as well as numerous trainings for parents and educators on a wide range of topics, including T-I-M-E for TeachersTM, Adult Literacy Instruction for Adults with Learning Disabilities, Successful Study Skill Strategies, and Assessment and Program Planning for the Learning Impaired Population. She has also provided workshops on the relationship between oral and written language. Barbara, through the Stern Center, collaborated with the Vermont Department of Corrections providing mentoring and instruction in all state prisons. Prior to joining the Stern Center, Barbara worked for ten years as a Consulting Teacher in public schools.

Barbara began her undergraduate work with a major in Education of the Deaf at Minot State College, went on to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Trinity College in Burlington, Vermont, and holds a Master of Education in Early Essential Education and Multihandicapped Program Planning as well as a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Disorders from the University of Vermont. She also studied Pediatric Neurological Screening at Harvard University. Barbara has completed additional graduate-level coursework and trainings on family intervention strategies, motor assessment and program planning, cognitive behavioral intervention strategies, language development, and multisensory structured language programs.

When she is not helping students and teachers achieve their potential, she enjoys Crossfit and Bikram yoga, listening to music, spending time with family and, of course, reading.

Jessica Jablonski, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Instructor

Gina Kells, M.Ed.

Reading Specialist, Instructor
Gina has more than twenty years of experience in education and human services. She has

Gina has more than twenty years of experience in education and human services. She has worked with students of all ages and has a background in literacy intervention and assessment. Her extensive knowledge in the field of special education and implementation of state-of-the-art teaching and counseling strategies makes her an excellent instructor for any and all types of learners. She received her certification as a Reading Specialist/Coordinator in 2012 and her certification in Elementary Education in 2004 from Johnson State College. She received her Master of Education from University of Bridgeport in 1994 and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology from Franklin Pierce University in 1993.

Why Gina loves being an instructor:

I enjoy being an instructor because of the variety of clients I get to instruct each day. I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students and help them embrace who they are no matter what their various strengths, areas of need, personalities, and ages!

What parents have to say:

“We love Gina, she understands him so well! The nature and approach that Gina takes with instruction is phenomenal.” “Gina has built a wonderful rapport with my child and his reading and comprehension have significantly improved as a result of working with her.” “We think Gina has been an excellent match for our daughter. I love how structured and organized the sessions have been. Gina is a lovely person and a great teacher.” “We like Gina. Although attribution is difficult (he is on an IEP at public school) I believe that Stern instruction has improved his reading.”

Amos Kornfeld, Ed.D.

Instructor and Outreach Coordinator

Sharon Leach, Ph.D.

Neuropsychology & Licensed Psychologist
Sharon Leach, Ph.D., Clinical Neuropsychologist & Licensed Psychologist – Doctorate, is licensed in Vermont and

Sharon Leach, Ph.D., Clinical Neuropsychologist & Licensed Psychologist – Doctorate, is licensed in Vermont and provides neuropsychological and psychological evaluations to individuals from 4 to 35 years of age.  Dr. Leach has performed nearly 950 evaluations and has broad experience evaluating academic/learning disabilities, developmental disorders, psychological needs, and neurological issues that impact functioning, such as the effects of medical, developmental, and social-emotional issues as a result of traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, brain tumors and toxic exposure. Dr. Leach also consults frequently with schools, providing recommendations to address the academic and social-behavioral needs of students with significant learning challenges and complex neuropsychological profiles.

Dr. Leach earned her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the University of Miami. She completed her Clinical Internship and Post-Doctoral Training at West Virginia University.

Kerri McDonald-Schaub, M.Ed., Fellow/AOGPE

Professional Learning Instructor
Kerri  has extensive experience providing Orton-Gillingham training and practicum supervision. Kerri currently teaches at the

Kerri  has extensive experience providing Orton-Gillingham training and practicum supervision. Kerri currently teaches at the Manchester-Essex Regional Middle School in Massachusetts and is an integral member of the Intensive Reading and Written Language program, which has been recognized as a model public school program through the Governor’s Community Innovation Challenge grant initiative. Kerri is a certified Massachusetts Reading Specialist and holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University. She teaches reading instruction at the university level, and routinely presents at local and national conferences for teachers of reading and writing. Keri has worked closely with the Director of the Orton-Gillingham Institute, Peggy Price, mentoring teachers for the past two years.

Kathryn McLane, J.D.

Instructor
Kathryn McLane, Instructor, has a J.D. from Washington & Lee University and a Bachelor of

Kathryn McLane, Instructor, has a J.D. from Washington & Lee University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Afro-American Studies at Smith College. For the past fifteen years, she owned and operated a tutoring business in Potomac, Maryland. She specializes in math instruction and has extensive experience preparing learners for the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and ISEE.

Jennifer McMannon, M.Ed.

Instructor
Jennifer McMannon, M.Ed., Instructor, provides individualized math instruction to students of all ages, including those

Jennifer McMannon, M.Ed., Instructor, provides individualized math instruction to students of all ages, including those preparing for college admissions exams, such as the ACT or SAT.  Clients benefit from her 20 years of experience delivering evidence-based instruction customized to meet students’ needs. Trained as a middle school math educator, Jennifer was a classroom teacher in a variety of settings prior to joining the Stern Center team in 2014. 

Jennifer holds a Master of Education degree from Lesley University in Middle School Education and has completed extensive graduate-level coursework and trainings on topics related to mathematics, technology and learning differences. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of New Hampshire. When she is not working with students, she enjoys time with her family, keeping up with her energetic Husky, solving math puzzles and staying active.

Julia Molson, Psy.D.

Clinical Psychologist
Julia Molson, Psy.D., Evaluator, is Supervising Psychologist of the School Consultation Service of the Pediatric

Julia Molson, Psy.D., Evaluator, is Supervising Psychologist of the School Consultation Service of the Pediatric Psychiatry Fellowship at the Stern Center, where since 2000 she has conducted more than 800 cognitive, educational, and psychological evaluations for children, adolescents and adults. She has a deep interest and broad expertise in providing assessment and treatment to children, adolescents, and young adults with social relatedness difficulties, including autism spectrum disorders,  as well as attention problems, language and learning disabilities, depression, and anxiety.

Dr. Molson is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Vermont College of Medicine. She also maintains a private practice. She received her Doctor of Psychology degree in Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology from the University of Hartford.

Lauren Morse, M.Ed.

Instructor
Lauren Morse, M.Ed., A/AOGPE, W.D.P., Literacy Instructor, provides individualized literacy instruction to students of all

Lauren Morse, M.Ed., A/AOGPE, W.D.P., Literacy Instructor, provides individualized literacy instruction to students of all ages. Clients benefit from her 9 years of experience delivering evidence-based instruction customized to meet each student’s unique needs. Lauren is Associate Level Certified by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. She also completed the Wilson Reading System, Level I, Multisensory Language Training Program and is working toward her Wilson Level 2 certification with the goal of becoming a Wilson Certified Trainer.

Lauren holds a Master of Education degree in Language and Literacy, with an emphasis on English Language Learning and Culturally Responsive Teaching, from Lesley University and is currently working toward a Graduate Certificate in Special Education. When she is not helping students achieve their potential, she enjoys tap dancing and spending time with her daughter and family.

Jane Nathan, Ph.D.

Research Director
Jane Nathan is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist Doctorate and a Licensed School Psychologist. In addition

Jane Nathan is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist Doctorate and a Licensed School Psychologist. In addition to directing research at the Stern Center for more than ten years, she has a private practice that specializes in a wide array of psychological services for children and families. Dr. Nathan also holds a clinical Assistant Professor appointment through Family Medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine where she teaches and serves as mentor and career advisor to first year medical students. She has also taught courses at University of Vermont, Middlebury College, and Trinity College.

Janna Osman, M.Ed.

Vice President for Advanced Learning
Janna Osman comes to the Stern Center having spent 8 years as the Learning Disabilities

Janna Osman comes to the Stern Center having spent 8 years as the Learning Disabilities Consultant at the Vermont Department of Education. She spent 12 years as a special education practitioner and a practicum coordinator at St. Michael’s College. Her collaboration with the Stern Center, in her role with the DOE, led to the development of The VT Lab School, and a Tier 3 assessment and instruction design for students with learning disabilities. Her position at the Stern Center enables her to design and provide outreach professional learning opportunities for educators and families, to enhance the lives of all learners, on both a state and national level.

Marcia Perry, B.S.

Instructor
Marcia Perry, B.S., Instructor, provides literacy instruction, academic support and coaching to a diverse group

Marcia Perry, B.S., Instructor, provides literacy instruction, academic support and coaching to a diverse group of students who benefit from her 30+ years of teaching experience. In her former role as Academic Director at Mansfield Hall in Burlington, Marcia taught college students with executive function and social learning challenges whose academic success hinged on her ability to oversee their personal learning plans and implement appropriate interventions while fostering the students’ independence.

Prior to joining the Stern Center in 2016, Marcia was a highly respected faculty member at U-32 High School, Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood New Jersey, Pine Ridge School, Vergennes Union High School, Lake Champlain Waldorf School and Rice Memorial High School. Marcia acquired expertise in teaching students with a wide range of learning differences during her ten years at Pine Ridge School, a residential high school for students with learning differences in Williston, Vermont, that closed in 2009. While at Pine Ridge, Marcia received a national award in teaching excellence.

Marcia has completed extensive professional trainings on a wide range of topics, including the structure of the English language, language processing, brain-behavior relationships, Attention Deficit Disorder, nonverbal learning disorders, and dyslexia. She has completed training at Sunbridge College’s Teacher Training program in Spring Valley, New York, and has completed coursework in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Vermont.

Marcia earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Norwich University, where she obtained her teaching licensure in Science for grades 7-12. When she is not working with students, Marcia enjoys hiking, skiing, traveling, photo-journaling, gardening and beekeeping.

Blanche Podhajski, Ph.D.

President
Blanche Podhajski founded the Stern Center for Language and Learning in 1983 with a clear

Blanche Podhajski founded the Stern Center for Language and Learning in 1983 with a clear mission: she envisioned a learning center that combined direct services for individuals, training for educators, and research on learning differences. Thanks to her vision, the Stern Center has become a renowned learning resource for our region and nationally.

Dr. Podhajski has over forty years experience working with individuals with learning differences. She teaches and consults with educators throughout the country and is a frequent presenter at regional and national conferences. She is the co-author of Sounds Abound and BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY®.

View publications and presentations.

Peggy Price, M.Ed., Fellow/AOGPE

Director of the Orton-Gillingham Institute at the Stern Center
Peggy Price, M.Ed., Fellow/AOGPE, is the Director of the Orton-Gillingham Institute at the Stern Center.

Peggy Price, M.Ed., Fellow/AOGPE, is the Director of the Orton-Gillingham Institute at the Stern Center. She provides training at the Orton-Gillingham (OG) Classroom Educator, Associate, and Certified levels in addition to a broad array of OG workshops and webinars. Peggy oversees a talented team of OG Fellows across the east coast who assist her with providing in-depth mentorship to educators seeking OG certification. She regularly speaks at national conferences about the OG Approach, has been featured in podcasts, and is an editor for the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators newsletter. She has taught Orton-Gillingham to students from ages 5-44, and loves witnessing her students (and now the educators she mentors) blossom as they learn the structure of the English language. Price teaches 6-7 graduate courses a year in partnership with Castleton University.

Prior to moving to Vermont, Price taught at Trident Academy, a private school for students with language-based learning disabilities, in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Price also taught at the Coralwood School in Dekalb County, Georgia, where she also served on the board of the Coralwood Foundation. During graduate school, Price held a research assistantship with Project Healthy Grandparents in Atlanta to provide early intervention services for low-income children at risk for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Price holds a master’s degree in Special Education: Early Childhood Multiple and Severe Disabilities from Georgia State University. Her bachelor’s degree is in Psychology, with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from Binghamton University. Her favorite quote is from Dr. Miriam Balmuth, “What we need instead of one well-grounded, teacher-proof method is a universe of well-grounded, method-proof teachers.” Peggy firmly believes every child has the right to become a literate member of our society, and every teacher deserves the knowledge and training to realize that promise.

Allison Provost, B.A.

Communications Coordinator
Allison earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Social Interaction from Oswego State University.

Allison earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Social Interaction from Oswego State University. She lives in Ferrisburgh, VT with her family and two pups Dallas and Apollo. 

Karen Rodgers, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Instructor, Professional Learning Provider
Karen Rodgers, M.A., CCC-SLP, provides speech and language therapy for children of all ages who

Karen Rodgers, M.A., CCC-SLP, provides speech and language therapy for children of all ages who present with autism spectrum disorder, apraxia, and various other neurological diagnoses. In addition to being a BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY® instructor, Karen provides workshops for teachers, early childcare providers and parents targeting literacy, language and social skills as well as oral/motor, speech and feeding skills for early childhood development.

Prior to joining the Stern Center, Karen worked in private practice delivering early intervention and other services in a variety of settings, including schools and hospitals. Her experience includes implementation of programs for feeding, literacy and social communication. In addition, she implemented the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) and the Infant Toddler Environmental Rating Scale (ITERS) for medical daycare providers. Karen also implemented The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool.

Karen earned a Master of Arts degree from Temple University and was awarded a Certificate of Distinction in Communication Sciences for completion of quality research projects focusing on Early Childhood Development and Communication Skills.

Abby Roy, M.A., NCSP, C.A.G.S.

School Psychologist
Abby Roy, M.A., NCSP, C.A.G.S is a nationally certified school psychologist who has over 10

Abby Roy, M.A., NCSP, C.A.G.S is a nationally certified school psychologist who has over 10 years of professional experience working with students ranging from preschool to college. She has expertise in assessment of individual learning needs that contribute to academic struggles and behavior challenges in the school setting. She is particularly interested in uncovering language-based learning disabilities that can present as student disengagement. Abby has provided school teams with consultation focused on the assessment and intervention of challenging behavior. She is Life Space Crisis Intervention certified and has worked as a Crisis Prevention Institute trainer. Abby is passionate about assisting teachers and parents who support students with social, emotional or attentional challenges.

Abby received her Master of Arts and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Tufts University. Abby’s professional interests include the relationship between executive functioning skills and academic success as well as the use of mindfulness techniques in the classroom to promote self-awareness and increased student engagement.

 

Colleen Schuster, M.Ed.

Instructor
Colleen Schuster, M. Ed., Instructor, provides customized instruction in reading, written expression and executive function

Colleen Schuster, M. Ed., Instructor, provides customized instruction in reading, written expression and executive function skills to students of all ages, including adults. Her students benefit from her nearly 30 years of experience delivering instruction tailored to meet each student’s unique needs. Since joining the Stern Center, Colleen has worked with nearly 300 students and has collaborated with teachers throughout Vermont.

Prior to joining the Stern Center, Colleen was part of a team of educators led by David Drake and Dr. Charles Drake, founder of Landmark School, in establishing White Oak School in Westfield, Massachusetts. White Oak, where Colleen taught for 15 years, is the only state-approved, publicly funded school in Massachusetts that provides a full-day instructional program for students with moderate to severe language-based learning disabilities.

Colleen received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology/elementary education/biology from Mt. Holyoke College. She holds a Master of Education degree from Westfield State College, with a concentration in Moderate Special Needs. She has pursued her own professional learning by taking numerous courses related to structured language instruction, writing, executive function skills and technology. When she is not teaching, Colleen enjoys hiking with her dogs, snowboarding and music.

Michael Shapiro, M.B.A.

Chief Operating Officer
Michael has been working in corporate finance for 18 years. Past professional experiences include Fidelity in

Michael has been working in corporate finance for 18 years. Past professional experiences include Fidelity in Boston, Sotheby’s in NewYork, and Revision Military in Essex Junction, Vermont. 

 

 

Chris Shaw, M.Ed.

Instructor
Chris Shaw, M.Ed., Instructor, provides reading, writing, math and study skills instruction to students of all

Chris Shaw, M.Ed., Instructor, provides reading, writing, math and study skills instruction to students of all ages. Clients benefit from his 10 years of experience delivering evidence-based instruction customized to meet each student’s unique needs. Chris has completed the Wilson Reading System, Level I, Multisensory Language Training Program and is a certified Vermont English teacher for grades 7-12. He has taught nearly 200 students since joining the Stern Center.

Chris holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Vermont and earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature from Harvard College. Prior to joining the Stern Center, Chris taught in public schools throughout Chittenden County. When he is not teaching students, Chris enjoys serving on his local community and county boards.

Nanci Shepardson, M.S.Ed., Ed.S.

Nanci Shepardson is a Reading and Educational Specialist. She graduated from Wheelock College in 1989

Nanci Shepardson is a Reading and Educational Specialist. She graduated from Wheelock College in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in Preschool/Kindergarten Curriculum and Infant/ Toddler Development. In 2010, Mrs. Shepardson graduated from Simmons College with a Master of Science in Education in Language and Literacy and an education specialist degree in Assistive Technology. She is a seasoned teacher, a credentialed K-12 Reading Specialist, an International Dyslexia Association and Wilson Language Systems certified Dyslexia Specialist, and is Wilson Level 1 certified. Mrs. Shepardson has taught kindergarten, second grade, fourth grade, was a Reading and Educational Specialist for grades 7 through postgraduate, and has tutored all ages. She consults for the International Dyslexia Association and she is an advocate for students with disabilities and their families. She is the Head of Learning Resources at The Chapin School in Manhattan and is also a professional speaker on dyslexia, language-based disabilities, and technology throughout the Northeast.

Tracy Stein, M.S.Ed., NCSP

Evaluator
Tracy Stein, M.S.Ed., NCSP, Evaluator, is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist who conducts cognitive, language

Tracy Stein, M.S.Ed., NCSP, Evaluator, is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist who conducts cognitive, language and academic assessments primarily with school-aged children and young adults. She has expertise in providing assessment and informed feedback to individuals with learning disabilities, particularly those with language-based learning challenges. She enjoys collaborating with schools, teachers and parents alike. In addition to performing evaluations, Tracy manages the technology needs for the evaluation department, which now uses iPad-based assessments for most clients. Prior to joining the Stern Center, Tracy worked as a school psychologist for the New York City Department of Education.

Tracy received her Master of Education degree from CUNY Brooklyn College in New York, where she earned Advanced Certification in School Psychology. In addition, she has completed numerous professional learning workshops and graduate-level courses offered through the Stern Center as well as at regional conferences on topics related to language development, literacy, assessment and the role of assistive technology in the classroom.

Shaun Stephens, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Instructor
Shaun Stephens, M.S., CCC-SLP, Evaluator and Instructor, provides speech and language services in the areas

Shaun Stephens, M.S., CCC-SLP, Evaluator and Instructor, provides speech and language services in the areas of social cognition, fluency (stuttering), motor speech, language, and alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) to learners of all ages. His areas of expertise include social communication, language impairments, speech fluency disorders and discourse impairments in children and adults. Prior to joining the Stern Center, Shaun worked extensively in schools, medical centers, skilled nursing facilities and in private practice.

He received his Master of Science degree from the University of Vermont. Currently, Shaun is enrolled in the Ph.D. program at UVM through the College of Medicine’s Clinical and Translational Science program, where he is researching discourse impairments in individuals with traumatic brain injury. Published articles include:

Prefrontal cortical activity during discourse processing: An observational fNIRS study, Topics in Language Disorders, 36(1): 65-79. Discourse characteristics and neurovascular activation in four genres. In submission, Journal of Neurolinguistics.

He lives in central Vermont and enjoys hiking, biking, playing fiddle, and cooking with his family.

Janet Steward, M.Ed.

Professional Learning Provider

Michelle Szabo, M.S.Ed.

Program Manager for Instruction
Michelle Szabo received her Masters of Science in Education from Simmons College and taught at

Michelle Szabo received her Masters of Science in Education from Simmons College and taught at the Landmark School in Massachusetts before returning to Vermont. She has been with the Stern Center as an Instructor and Manager since 2002 and is certified in many intensive instruction programs supporting reading, writing, executive function, and spelling. In addition to teaching school aged students, Michelle also works with educators and schools, providing consultation and Professional Learning. She lives in Jeffersonville, VT with her husband and children. 

Lori Van Allen, M.S., NCSP

Educational Diagnostician
Lori Van Allen, M.S., NCSP, Evaluator, performs psychoeducational evaluations for students of all ages, with

Lori Van Allen, M.S., NCSP, Evaluator, performs psychoeducational evaluations for students of all ages, with specific expertise in diagnosing, accommodating, and advising adolescents and adults with learning disabilities and attention disorders as they transition between high school, college, postgraduate education and career. Lori has conducted over 1,000 evaluations and has assisted hundreds of clients applying for accommodations on high-stakes standardized tests (SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.) and professional licensing exams (Praxis, MPRE, Bar, USMLE, etc.). 

Lori has also has provided workshops for parents regarding the transition from high school to college.  Her special areas of interest include information processing, learning disability subtypes, and individualized cross-battery assessment.  Prior to joining the Stern Center in 2001, Lori designed and coordinated services for students with disabilities at various colleges and universities.

A nationally certified school psychologist (NCSP), Lori earned her Master of Science degree in school psychology from Syracuse University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology from Miami University. When she is not helping clients, Lori enjoys reading, biking, camping, hiking, jigsaw puzzles, board games, and Sudoku. 

Carol Wieland, M.S.

Instructor
Carol Wieland, M.S., Instructor, provides customized reading and math instruction to students of all ages.

Carol Wieland, M.S., Instructor, provides customized reading and math instruction to students of all ages. Her students benefit from her 30+ years of experience delivering instruction tailored to each student’s unique needs. Since joining the Stern Center, Carol has worked with more than 100 students and has collaborated with classroom teachers and Special Educators throughout the state. In her additional role as Coordinator of Instruction at the Stern Center, Carol trains new members of the instruction team and oversees their programs with students, providing guidance as needed. Carol has also pursued her own professional learning by taking numerous courses related to reading, written expression, math skills and concepts, executive function skills, and assistive technology.

Carol earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Houghton College and a Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Binghamton University. When she is not teaching, Carol enjoys hiking, biking, and spending time with her family.

Edward R. Wilkens, Ed.D.

Special Projects Advisor
Ed Wilkens served as a Vermont public school principal for 19 years across all grade

Ed Wilkens served as a Vermont public school principal for 19 years across all grade levels pre-K through grade 12. He lives in Charlotte, VT with his wife and enjoys reading with his grand kids. 

Edward R. Wilkens, Ed.D.

Special Projects Advisor
Ed spent 19 years as a public school principal in four Vermont districts.  During a

Ed spent 19 years as a public school principal in four Vermont districts.  During a six year interlude of that work, he served as consultant and technical assistance provider for the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.  Ed began his time with the Stern Center as Development Director, serving in that role for ten years.  His current position involves him with projects having systems and organization-wide impact at the Stern Center.

Patricia Willette

Professional Learning Instructor

Ben Williams, Ed.D.

Professional Learning Provider
Ben was a Professor and Site Coordinator for Union Institute & University and former Director

Ben was a Professor and Site Coordinator for Union Institute & University and former Director of Teacher Licensure at Goddard College. He has been an adjunct professor at Goddard, University of Vermont and at Union Institute and University. He graduated with a doctorate degree in Curriculum and Learning Environments from Harvard Graduate School of Education. His area of expertise in the area of trauma informed practices, from both an educational and public health perspective, informed his role as Program Developer for the Rural Turnaround for Children Project: Developing trauma-informed learning environments in Lubec, Maine. He has researched and published articles on poverty informed rural educational practices. 

Jane Ashby, Ed.M., Ph.D.

Senior Director of Education
Jane Ashby, Ph.D., leads our Professional Learning Program. She holds advanced degrees in Education (Harvard)

Jane Ashby, Ph.D., leads our Professional Learning Program. She holds advanced degrees in Education (Harvard) and Psychology (University of Massachusetts). Early in her career, Jane taught children and adults with reading difficulties in the Boston area, taught Writer’s Workshop, and performed educational assessments at Harvard Children’s Hospital. Later, she established a center in Ohio that provided staff development for educators, private tutoring, and summer programs for children who struggle with learning to read. As an Associate Professor of Psychology at Central Michigan University, Dr. Ashby directs a laboratory that studies how cognitive processes operate in real-time during silent reading. She also maintains an affiliation with Haskins Labs at Yale University. Her publications include several papers about the role of phonology in silent reading, a graduate text about reading processes, and book chapters about reading development. In addition, she is an experienced practitioner who has used several structured literacy approaches, including Orton-Gillingham, Wilson, LETRS, and Project Read. Jane enjoys supporting teachers as they grow pedagogical skills that empower all children to experience the joy of reading.

My Professional Learning course at the Stern Center provided great strategies and pertinent information about the structure of our language. It is nice to have information that I can use immediately in my day to day instruction.

- T•I•M•E Comprehensive ™ Participant and Educator